‘They gave me a home’: How students, faculty remember Kalayaan College

July 5, 2022 - 5:51 PM
This March 2022 photo shows the facade of Kalayaan College. (Benjamin Pedroza/Kalayaan College)

Memories and tributes dedicated to Kalayaan College flooded social media after the 22-year-old educational institution announced its closure due to its “continuing financial losses.”

The Quezon City-based school announced its closure in an advisory released on Tuesday morning.

In its announcement, the college said that its board of directors has reached the decision due to the losses “brought about by declining student population and exacerbated by challenges caused by the ongoing pandemic.”

“The Board apologizes for this short notice and extends its gratitude to all students and parents who put their trust in Kalayaan College. We take this opportunity to thank our faculty and staff for their dedicated service,” the advisory read.

“With deepest regrets, KC shall be signing off after 22 years of providing quality education to the public,” it added.

Kalayaan College said it will still offer limited general education courses and major courses that will “enable senior-level students with a few remaining courses to complete their respective degree programs.”

These will be fully online and will start in August 2022.

In addition, students who need courses for their degrees not offered by the academic institution can cross-register with other colleges and universities.

Kalayaan College also promised the immediate transfer of credentials of students who will file applications for transfer to other schools.

While students can still access their grades, register, and be able to get updates from the school portal, their records will be transferred to a Commission on Higher Education-designated official repository as its operations wind down.

CHED is the agency with authority over post-secondary educational institutions in the country.

Kalayaan College’s announcement saddened former students and faculty members, who shared their fondest memories and dedicated tributes to the institution.

News editor Joyce Panares shared how she started her teaching journey at the school when she was hired at 19 years old, “almost two decades ago.”

“It was not as big as the other colleges and universities, but it felt like home,” she wrote on a Facebook post.

“KC will be missed,” Panares added with a heart emoji.

A former student shared that he is thankful that he managed to pursue Fine Arts studies because of the scholarship provided by the college.

“Sad news. Dito ko una (triny) ‘yung passion ko sa Fine Arts! Salamat po naging iskolar ako noon, subalit nag-iba ang landas na tinahak ko. Maraming Salamat, sa mga ala-ala, Kalay,” Jossah Quiros wrote.

Another former student shared what he called would be one of his “best memories” in the school.

“Kahit na official nang magsa-sign off ang school after 22 years, ang mga pinakita kong sash at t-shirt ng picture ni Sir Jose Abueva (1928-2021), ito ang magiging mga best memories ko sa pag aral sa Kalay,” Nikolai Gamit wrote.

“And natago ko pa ang Kalay ID ko kahit kumukupas na ang picture. Always proud to be a Kalay college student here! Maraming salamat sa lahat ng masasayang alaala, Kalayaan College!” he added.

A Twitter user shared how KC gave him “a home” as a “fallen UP student.” UP refers to the University of the Philippines.

“What a sad day. I don’t really share a lot about my academic journey but Kalayaan College has a special place in my heart. That corner of Betty Go-Belmonte station was a saving grace for me,” Gels Alberto wrote.

“They gave me a home, and hope that I can pick up myself again,” he added.

Kalayaan College is a private, non-sectarian institution founded in 2000 by former UP president Jose Abueva, along with other state university professors.

The school promised to provide “UP quality education” to those who cannot make it to the state university.

According to its website, “parents who dream of sending their children to the University of the Philippines can now expand their vision and send their children to Kalayaan College.”

A number of its professors were also from UP.

The school is the latest of the educational institutions to close as an effect of the pandemic.

In November 2020, the century-old College of the Holy Spirit Manila announced its permanent closure due to circumstances aggravated by the pandemic.

READ: Remembering CHSM: Century-old school in Manila closing its doors

Likewise, 25-year-old St. Joseph College of Bulacan closed in May last year due to challenges that worsened during the pandemic.

READ: 25-year-old Catholic school in Bulacan closes doors due to COVID-19 pandemic